Tuesday, December 22, 2009


This Rick Rubin produced studio album is what first put the Red Hot's on my radar screen. Listening to Give it Away hooked me right away, and it wasn't 24 hours after I first heard the song that I had bought the CD.
I thought of it today when I read the news that guitarist John Fruscianti was once again quitting the band, as he did in 1992 after the mega-successful release of this album. Back in 1992, Dave Navarro of Jane's Addiction briefly replaced John in the Red Hot Chili Peppers, doing an interesting if not entertaining job. But it wasn't the same.
Here's the skinny from Rolling Stone Magazine about when and why Fruscianti quit this time. Those who know anything about the RHCP know that their guitar chair has been fraught with problems since the days of the late Hillel Slovak, a beloved founding member of the band who died in 1988 as detailed here in this brief excerpt from their wiki page:
During this period, however, Kiedis and Slovak had both developed serious drug addictions,[20] often abandoning the band, each other, and their significant others for days on end. Slovak's addiction led to his death on June 25, 1988, not long after the conclusion of the Uplift tour.[21] Kiedis fled the city and did not attend Slovak's funeral, considering the situation to be surreal and dreamlike.[22] Jack Irons subsequently left the group, saying that he did not want to be part of a group where his friends were dying. Irons went on to become a member of Seattle grunge band Pearl Jam, however in 1998 Slovak's death was still playing on him so he quit that band too.[1]
Here's another excerpt about the band from thie wiki page, talking about the interesting events that surrounding the recording and ensuing tour to support the release of the album:
Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1990–1992)

"Give It Away"
Sample of "Give It Away", the first single from Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991)
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"Under the Bridge"
Sample of "Under the Bridge" from Blood Sugar Sex Magik (1991). The second single from the album, the song became a breakthrough hit, reaching number two on the Billboard charts.
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In 1990, the group switched labels to Warner Bros. Records, with Rick Rubin hired to produce their then-untitled fifth album. Rubin has produced all of the band's subsequent studio albums. The writing process for this album was far more productive than it had been during the creation of Mother's Milk, with Kiedis saying that "[every day] now, there was new music for me to lyricize".[28]
The band embarked on the grueling six-month process of recording a new album the long periods of rehearsal, songwriting, and the incubating of ideas but Rubin was dissatisfied with a regular recording studio, thinking the band would work better in a less orthodox setting. He came across an "amazing, huge, empty historically landmarked Mediterranean haunted mansion a stone's throw from where we all lived."[29] Rubin is the current owner of The mansion. For the next month or so, Frusciante, Kiedis and Flea remained in seclusion, never once leaving the house during the entire recording process. Smith, however, decided not to live in the house, believing it to be haunted.[30]
The band was unable to decide on the title of the album, but to Rubin, one particular song title stuck out: "Blood Sugar Sex Magik". Although it was not a featured song, Rubin believed it to be "clearly the best title" they had at the time.[31]
On September 24, 1991, Blood Sugar Sex Magik was released. "Give It Away" was released as the first single; it won a Grammy award in 1992 for "Best Hard Rock Performance With Vocal" and became the band's first number one single on the Modern Rock chart.[32][33] The ballad "Under the Bridge" was released as the follow up single, and went on to reach #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart,[33] the highest the band has reached on that chart,[33] and became one of the band's most recognizable songs. Other singles such as "Breaking the Girl" and "Suck My Kiss" also fared well on the charts. The album itself was an international sensation, selling over 12 million copies and greatly broadening the Chili Peppers' audience.[34] Blood Sugar Sex Magik was listed at number 310 on the Rolling Stone magazine list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, and in 1992 it rose to #3 on the U.S. album charts, almost a year after its release.[citation needed]
The band's success and drug addiction were taking their toll on Frusciante, who abruptly quit the band during the Blood Sugar Japanese tour in May 1992.[4] The band headlined the Lollapalooza festival in 1992 with replacement guitarist Arik Marshall (who appeared with them in The Simpsons fourth season finale, "Krusty Gets Kancelled", and the videos for "Breaking the Girl" and "If You Have to Ask"), and briefly with Jesse Tobias of the Los Angeles-based band Mother Tongue. Neither lasted very long, with the rest of the band stating that "The chemistry wasn't right."[35] They eventually settled on former Jane's Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro.
So it will be interesting to hear what the new guitarist sounds like. If nothing else.

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